Discover Portland, Maine: Your Ultimate Guide to Exciting Activities, Exceptional Food, and Comfortable Accommodations

Travel Advisor Gillian Spatz in a purple dress outside house with green walls.
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Gillian Spatz

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  • Arts & Culture

  • Babymoons

  • Food & Wine

  • Portland, Maine

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Culture

  • Relaxation

Lighthouse on a cliff at ocean's edge.
Curator’s statement

Visiting Portland, Maine is a unique experience due to its blend of picturesque New England charm and vibrant cultural scene. The city offers an array of activities, from exploring historic lighthouses and strolling along the scenic waterfront to indulging in its renowned seafood cuisine, particularly its fresh lobster. Furthermore, Portland's thriving arts community, cozy boutique lodging, and the warmth of its local residents make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of relaxation, culinary adventure, and cultural richness.

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Where to stay in Portland, Maine

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Portland Harbor Hotel

In the busy Old Port neighborhood of Portland, Maine, a light-filled boutique hotel with a maritime style and popular restaurant.

Portland Regency Hotel & Spa

Expect a historic look and vibe, a fun lounge bar, and a heart-of-the-action location in the Old Port.

The Westin Portland Harborview

It’s all about the views at this renovated Portland landmark between Old Port and the West End, now home to a must-visit rooftop bar on the 15th floor.

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  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Travel Advisor Gillian Spatz in a purple dress outside house with green walls.

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Things to do in Portland, Maine

Purple and white flowers in front of a body of water.

Discover the charm of Portland, Maine, a hidden gem nestled in New England. This comprehensive guide takes you through the bustling streets of Portland, showcasing its vibrant activities, exquisite culinary scene, and comfortable lodging options. Whether you're a food enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a tranquil retreat, Portland's diverse offerings cater to every traveler's dream.

Old Port District

Renowned for its boutique shopping, dining, and nightlife, with cobblestone streets and historic buildings​​.

International Cryptozoology Museum

The only museum dedicated to legendary creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster​​.

Portland Museum of Art

Maine's largest and oldest art institution, featuring a diverse range of art from classical to contemporary​​.

Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine

Offers interactive exhibits for kids, including science areas and a theatre​​.

Arts District

Home to numerous art galleries, museums, theaters, and the Maine College of Art, with monthly First Friday Art Walks​​.

Portland Observatory

The last wooden signal tower in North America, offering great views of Portland and Casco Bay - open seasonally​​.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum

Features unique, extra-small trains and tracks, with a working historical train for rides​​.

Eastern Promenade

A scenic location with a park, trail system, and historic references, hosting concerts and fireworks​​.

Portland Trails Network

An 80-mile network of trails in the Greater Portland Casco Bay region, including the Bayside Trail and Eastern Prom Trail​​.

Bubba’s Sulky Lounge

A retro-style club featuring a light-up rainbow dance floor and costume parties​​.

Places to eat & drink in Portland, Maine

A lobster roll with fries on a table.
  • Twelve: An upscale New England restaurant located on the Portland waterfront, known for its prix-fixe and a la carte menu with innovative dishes like Maine mushroom porridge and lobster roll on a hand-laminated croissant​​.

  • Bar Futo: A playful spot with a secret chicken menu and dishes like Big Mac skewers, known for cooking over Japanese binchotan​​.

  • Regards: Offers a diverse menu inspired by various cities, ideal for cocktails, desserts, and unique seafood dishes​​.

  • Wayside Tavern: Located in a historic building, this cozy tavern offers comfort foods including pastas and beer-battered cod cheeks​​.

  • Eventide Oyster Company: Known for its excellent seafood, including 20 types of oysters and a unique lobster roll served with brown butter​​.

  • The Shop by Island Creek Oysters: Specializes in some of the world's best oysters, perfect for an afternoon snack with a bottle of wine​​.

  • Yosaku: A Portland classic offering homestyle Japanese food with a beautiful outdoor patio and a variety of sushi and bento boxes​​.

  • Scales: Elegant seafood restaurant with New England classics and a stunning dessert list, known for its waterfront views​​.

  • Leeward: A pasta-centric restaurant where almost everything is made in-house, located in a former men's department store​​.

  • Izakaya Minato: A Japanese restaurant with a diverse menu including sashimi, fried chicken, and udon, popular for its uni spoon dish​​.

Portland, Maine, is more than just a destination; it's an experience that blends adventure, gastronomy, and relaxation. From its scenic landscapes and rich culinary offerings to its welcoming accommodations, Portland promises an unforgettable journey. As you plan your next getaway, remember the magic that awaits in this coastal city, where every corner tells a story and every moment becomes a cherished memory.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Savannah's Savory Selections: Top 8 Iconic Restaurants You Can't Miss. This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Maine.

Travel Advisor Gillian Spatz in a purple dress outside house with green walls.

Travel Advisor

Gillian Spatz

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Maine.